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Cadillac Repair/91 Eldorado intermittant starting issue


I have a 91 Eldorado and sometimes after driving it will not crank. Just get a tick from the starter and sometimes I can try again and it will start. Sometimes I get no noise at all but nothing happens. After sitting for a few minutes it starts right up. Replaced starter but that did not solve the issue. Yesterday it did it and when I tried bumping the starter something happened and it went totally dead, no lights or dash as if the battery connection was bad. Checked the battery and everything was tight. I had no power to anything, no interior lights or dash or anything. Went out later to try again and all was still dead. Turned key off and back to accessory position then to start and everything came back and it started right up. No issues for a few days and then today it would not turn over again. Waited a few minutes and tried it again and it started right up. It usually doesn't happen until it has been driven awhile but not always. New battery and new starter, vats system has been bypassed with resistor under dash by alarm company. I am totally stumped. Could it be the ignition switch and if so how hard to replace it. This car has low miles for the year and was in storage for about 7 years with regular starting and driving to keep fluids circulated and engine lubricated. No other issues at all, runs great and is in great shape. Have started driving on a regular basis but this starting issue is getting to me. I know when it happensit will start after waiting about 30 minutes but never know when this will happen. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.


I apologize for not answering the last questions in a timely fashion and it is the first time in over a decade of answering questions for you I have been this late.
My brother died unexpectedly in Wisconsin. I had to drive alone from Texas, 1,100 miles one way to attend the funeral. Then I had to drive 1,100 miles home. This has been extremely stressful on my 63 year old body. Wifi sucked at hotels and was extremely slow.

On very rare conditions, I have run across burned up ignition switches. The ignition switch is located on the top of the steering column under the dash. Many think the ignition is the key lock cylinder and that is only a mechanical device that operates the ignition switch.

What you need to do is drop the steering column. Remove the 7 mm (9/32) screws from the lower dash components as well as the hush panel (Lower dash piece under steering column). You will find 10 mm head bolts or wing nuts attaching it to fire wall
Drop the steering column removing the either 15 mm bolts (4) or 13 mm (1/2). Now you have access to the ignition/
On the left side you will find the bright light actuator. Remove the nuts or screws (whatever s used in this column).

once you drop that switch, you will find the screws that attach the ignition switch. remove them and pull switch off. To remove the two harnesses, I would just bend the upper tab of the ignition upward. Remove the two connectors. Switch may smell burned and that will probably be your problem. Install new switch on tab. Hopefully, you left the ignition lock in the lock position with no key in it.

Install switch lining up rod with inside hole. Put screws back in and tighten. Once tight, put key in lock and see if you feel start detent. If so, pt back to lock and remove key.

You will have to remove the ignition switch hold down screw close to dash. Line up hole in dimmer with rod. Put slight pressure on high beam switch and reinstall dimmer switch screws. Now tilt the wheel all the way up. Try the high beam switch. If if clicks, good. Put steering wheel in full down position. Use the high beam lever again. If it clicks, install the ignition wiring and reinstall everything.

If high beam does not click, you ill have to play with adjustment.

Let me know how it works. Make sure the VATS bypass resistor is still connected.

Good luck!  

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Rob Painter


Alarm system questions cannot be answered on this forum. These systems are not what I can answer. Without being physically at the vehicle and not knowing what kind of electrical service has been done on the vehicle, there is no possible way to give an accurate answer over the internet. My expertise is in Ignition/key based anti-theft systems. These issues include GM VATS (resistor chip in key blade) PASSLOCK (MRD)-ignition lock rotation based, no special ignition key and the PKIII Transponder (computer chip in key) systems. These systems are not alarm based and are integral with the starting of the engine. This is why I cannot diagnose alarm problems without physically looking at the vehicle: Alarm systems are a completely different annimal than ignition key/lock based anti-theft system. Many alarm questions come from vehicles 10 years old, and since older, many hands that had been involved over the years.I am an expert in all GM factory (ignition/key based)systems. Alarm system questions pose to many situations beyond my knowledge as to what has been done to the vehicle over the years. Some guy may have actually wired the stereo into the alarm system. Who knows? Over my past 30 years in vehicle wiring repair, I have seen unbelievable wiring disaters done by guys that consider themselves "mechanics." I have seen stereos and alarms intalled using surgical tape. I have seen modules burn up, un-fused circuits, wiring jambed between the doors and even lamp cord used for a starter kill. To answer alarm questions over the internet without examining the vehicle is like asking; What does it take to remove a dent?


Education/Credentials-ASE certified. 11 years with a GM dealer and 17 years with a repair facility dealing with only the repair of theft recovered vehicles.

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